Overview: Once upon a time, a group of young women found themselves seeking refuge in the magical home of a tribe of kindly Dwarves. But not all was as it seemed, and when faced with the treachery of the world around them, it would take more than magic to get them to safety… it would take hard, extreme action!
Setting Aspect: Not Your Average F*****g Fairytale!
While it may hold the trappings of a Disney Storybook—princesses, dwarves, magic, talking animals—this adventure’s heart sits with a combination of prison breakout movies like the Great Escape, and brutal pulp fiction action films like Inglorious Basterds and the Dirty Dozen.
As such, this aspect can be Invoked to bend the rules of your typical storybook, introducing elements like explosions, technological anachronisms, and performing the sort of high-flying stunts found in a 70s grindhouse flick.
However, know that it can be compelled to the same effect, only directed AGAINST the PCs.
Act I - Exploration
Each of the PCs takes on the role of a young girl, who awakens in a large cottage, deep in the wood. They cannot remember how they got here, though they have vague memories of happy families and trauma-free lives. They are greeted by Dr. Apfel Brewbeard, a kindly Dwarven Alchemist (see stats below). He explains that the girls are princesses of various kingdoms, being kept here until their pursuers (unique to each girl) lose their trail.
At this point, perform character creation as a group—each PC selecting a fairytale archetype and developing a character from there—and deciding on “High Concept” and “Trouble” Aspects based on their respective stories, developing the rest over the course of play.
GM: Keep track of the PC’s troubles. As they explore, you’ll be figuring out the “true” version of these troubles—see the end of Act II, below.
At this time, reveal the first Big Issue:
BIG ISSUE 1: Pursuers in the Darkness
There are forces out there who would seek to claim these girls, unless they can come up with a way to fight back…
Invoking this Aspect allows PCs to introduce plans and devices capable of thwarting their enemies. Compelling this Aspect allows the players to come face to face with low-level minions of their pursuers, or even their shadows, with the intent to terrify and police them.
Once the PCs have characters, and understand their predicament, introduce them to day-to-day living on the Brewbeard farm and surrounding wood. (See the map, with area-specific Aspects, here. Feel free to zoom in and flesh out areas and NPCs to your liking.).
Feel free to play up this section for all it’s worth as a fairytale. This is meant to be a safehouse… for now.
Act II - Investigation
After the girls have had some time to develop plans and contact home, have them begin to discover the truth—their letters have been destroyed (thrown in the fires, fed to the animals), their work hours grow ever increasing, the Dwarves go from friendly to short, rude, even combative. Animals become more feral and aggressive, and the limits the girls are allowed to explore are cut shorter and shorter.
At this point, introduce the second Big Issue:
BIG ISSUE: This Farm, This Prison
For whatever reason, the girls have become trapped in this farm. The walls are closing in. But there are advantages to being in a prison; knowing every nook and cranny, and building secret areas
This Aspect can be Compelled to corner the PCs, as the Dwarves keep the girls caged like rats.
This Aspect can be Invoked to use the PC’s predicament to their advantage, hiding tools, digging and uncovering secret passages, and finding tricks and traps.
As the girls investigate why this is, they begin to discover holes in their respective backstories—conflicting facts, made up entities, even lies about their very lineage.
This culminates in the revelation that, while the girls are royalty of sorts, they are hardly princesses—just the daughters of local lords, being held hostage by Apfel Brewbeard until they hand over their fortunes. Apfel, rather than the girl’s pursuers, was behind each of their particular troubles, and has simply been spinning stories to keep the girls occupied and under his thumb. And if they want their freedom, they’ll need to take Brewbeard down.
Act III – Vengeance
The final Act is where things get explosive. It is, at its core, one extended battle between Apfel Brewbeard, his woodland minions, and his Dwarven soldiers, using the entire Farm and Wood as a battlefield.
PCs are encouraged to use whatever plans, weapons, and schemes they hatched to bring him down.
Once Brewbeard is defeated, the girls can return to their families, or join together as a kick-ass princess adventuring party.
Dr. Apfel Brewbeard
A corrupt, crazed Dwarven Alchemist, prone to kidnapping and holding for ransom young daughters to local royalty, and forcing them to work his giant orchards and terrifying gemstone mines until their ransom is paid—keeping them in the dark all the while with lies and manipulation. Through force of will and extreme violence, he has claimed himself a clan of followers, and rules with an iron fist.
Aspects: Treacherous Pedagogue, Brewer of Exotic Potions, I’ll Hire Someone to Do It For Me, I am Master of my World, Despised-yet-Respected Tyrant
Fate Points: Two
Physical: O O
Mental: O O O
+3 Craft, Intimidation
+2 Empathy, Resources, Will
+1 Fighting, Shooting, Ride, Notice
Alchemist’s Fire – May substitute Craft for Fighting when he can reasonably use or quickly whip up a potion in combat.
Dwarven Reinforcements – May spend a Fate point to create either two +1 Minions or one +2 Minion